Sylva & Cie
Sylva Yepremian is an artisan jewelry designer with more than twenty years of experience creating and manufacturing unique pieces for the discerning client. Sylva recently opened the doors to the atelier Sylva & Cie, an old-world manufacturing house based in the heart of the Downtown Los Angeles jewelry district.D’Arte in Florence. Sylva & Cie is a joint venture with her husband, Raffi Yepremian. The couple has two sons, Nicolas and Thomas.
An avid collector of antique jewelry, Sylva cites the vintage looks from the Art Deco period as a significant source of inspiration for her contemporary collections. What makes these pieces unique, however, is Sylva’s uncanny ability to incorporate her affinity for nature and the environment into the molten metals and colorful jewels—her respect for their organic and unrefined beginnings gives her rings, bangles, earrings, charms and pendants their singular allure.
Sylva was born in Lebanon, and spent her formative years in Paris. At the age of sixteen, she and her family moved to Los Angeles. She completed her baccalaureate studies in Languages. She always had a keen interest in the Fine Arts, and enjoyed painting and working with mixed media. While in college, she designed posters for the Los Angeles Athletic Club, and created silkscreen prints for a Los Angeles-based fashion company. Sylva’s father, Jirair Guiragossian, had served as a master jeweler for The Maison Cartier in Paris. It was under his skilled tutelage that Yepremian received training at the craftsman’s bench.
The unique sculptural quality of her jewelry comes from the fact that the designer insists that each and every piece be made by hand. Her signature bangles, for example, are hand cast from original wax sculptures, and the open-link chains she uses in her earrings and necklaces are formed and soldered by hand as well. Each an every gemstone is hand cut, a feat that astounds even the designer herself. “I am constantly amazed by the amount of time and effort that goes into the custom stone work in my jewelry,” she says.
She always had a passion for crafting jewelry, but her first foray into the world of jewelry was less than romantic—after the untimely passing of her aunt in 1992, her mother, Sima Guiragossian, needed a partner to run SN Queens, a retail operation in the Downtown Los Angeles jewelry district. While she didn’t have a keen interest in selling jewelry, it seemed like a natural progression from manufacturing. Sylva credits her success to a hands-off approach—she doesn’t pressure the client, whether to encourage them or dissuade them about a particular piece. She simply lets the personas of the client and jewelry connect, so that the client has a piece that best reflects her unique sensibilities.
It is the diversity of her clientele that she celebrates in her collections—Sylva sees each woman as a goddess, worthy of being adorned with beautiful pieces of jewelry. To that end, every limited-edition piece is hand-wrought and hand-faceted in Los Angeles—and like their counterparts in nature, no two pieces will ever be the same. Upon close examination of her rings, bracelets or pendants, clients can observe the asymmetrical faceting of the stones, the distressed patinas, and unique shades of gold.
Each piece has its genesis as a hand-drawn sketch, and the prolific Sylva creates and cultivates at least one new piece every day. Sometimes just one idea or botanical inspiration could be the core of six pieces in a collection that comprises numerous designs. With just four collections made each year, Sylva’s jewelry has a timeless appeal that transcends trends and seasons, and Sylva & Cie. promises to be a venue for women to find themselves among the artisanry.